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Showing posts from August, 2019

The price of progress

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The way some individuals and companies exploit our environment seems to be a very twenty-first century concern. However, photographs published in the New Zealand Graphic one hundred years ago show people were starting to realise New Zealand’s natural landscape and resources had been seriously degraded by extractive nineteenth-century industries and farming techniques.

On 6 May 1893 the New Zealand Graphic published a photo with the stark caption, ‘Our timber trade: the work of destruction in a kauri forest.’ It showed a jumbled mass of logs already felled by bushmen. Bullock teams were being harnessed to drag the logs from the forest; probably to a bush tramway and then to a sawmill.


Sixteen years later in 1909 the Graphic published a page of photos entitled simply ‘How the Dominion bush is vanishing.’ The series showed a doomed kauri tree’s final journey from the forest via bullock team, bush tramway and log dam towards the city sawmill.


Then in 1910 the paper published a photo of tw…

Threlkeld, Biraban, and the Awabakal manuscripts at Auckland Libraries

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Held in the heritage collections at Auckland Libraries are two unique manuscripts written in the indigenous Australian language known today as Awabakal. Prior to colonisation, this language was spoken by the Aboriginal peoples of the Hunter Valley and Lake Macquarie area of New South Wales. During the twentieth century, its survival was at risk, however, it is now part of an indigenous language rediscovery movement in Australia.

Original texts are important sources for language rediscovery as they record the language when it was spoken widely. To aid this project, and as a contribution to the International Year of Indigenous Languages in 2019, Auckland Libraries has digitised these two manuscripts – Evangelion unni ta Jesu-um-ba Christ-ko-ba Upatoara Louka-umba and An Aboriginal and English lexicon to the Gospel according to Saint Luke - and made them available on Kura Heritage Collections Online. During August they are also on display in the Real Gold case in the special collections …